The Complete Guide to Buying Sleeping Bags: Everything to Know

Finding the right sleep bag for your specific needs and occasions requires knowing your options. This guide explains what to know when buying sleeping bags.

The number of first-time campers across the United States expanded five-fold in 2021. Plus, more than ten million households camped for the first time in 2020.

There’s no doubt interest in camping remains high, but to have the best camp experience, you need the right equipment.

Aside from the tent, one of your most crucial pieces of camping equipment is the right sleeping bag. When buying sleeping bags, it’s important to keep the rating system in mind as well as material type, so you remain comfortable all night long.

Here’s what you need to know.


Sleeping bags have a temperature rating to ensure you stay cool in summer or warm on chilly nights. The temperature rating can get confusing for first-time campers. It varies between brands, and what each person considers warm can differ depending on weight, personal preference, and more.

The temperature rating indicates the lowest temperature a camper can use the sleeping bag to stay warm. For instance, a rating of 20°F keeps someone comfortable up to temps of 20°F. It seems simple, but certain factors can impact your comfort levels.

What you’re wearing, how much you weigh, and whether you use a sleeping pad or not all play a part in keeping you warm. Use the rating as a guideline rather than a rule.

Size and Shape

There are various types of sleeping bags, including ones designed for children or teens and those meant for adults. Make sure to buy the right size when ordering sleeping bags. Adult sizes often include tall or large sleeping bags.

There’s also the shape to consider. There is the standard rectangular shape, semi-rectangular, mummy-style, and a double sleeping bag for two people. Some people like designs with more room to move around or stretch out.

Weight and Size

Weight might not play such a big part in your purchasing decision unless you’re backpacking. Carrying a heavy sleeping bag can quickly tire you out.

If you’re simply moving the sleeping bag from your car to your campsite, this may not be a big deal.

Insulation Type

The filling used for insulation impacts several factors such as weight, warmth, durability, and more. Typically, you have two options: synthetic material or down filling.

Down filling works best in cold, dry weather. It’s durable and holds up well over the years, and it’s easy to compress. It may cost more and may not be suitable for people with allergies.

Synthetic filling is cheaper, it dries fast, it’s hypoallergenic, and it will insulate even while damp. Many people consider synthetic filling more ethical as well.

Additional Features

What are some of your favorite sleeping bag features? Draft collars and cinch hoods for cold weather? Dual zippers for more breathability and room to move?

Some sleeping bags have pockets for phones, pillows, or straps. Some are designed to be quieter if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

There are even anti-radiation sleeping bags on the market, such as this one from

Use These Tips When Buying Sleeping Bags

Consider these factors when buying sleeping bags, and you’re sure to find the perfect one for your camping trip. Now go out and enjoy the great outdoors!

Take a look at some of our other blog posts in our Entertainment section for more outdoor advice and tips.

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